When seven young male dancers were plucked from the New York drag-ball scene to appear in Madonna’s Vogue music video, they never could have envisaged what life had in store for them. Embarking on the 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour, they would become global icons for the gay community, making vogueing a global phenomenon and forming a kind of surrogate family with the Queen of Pop, as seen in the movie In Bed With Madonna (1991). Revisiting their stories 25 years on, Strike a Pose is open, emotional retelling of the highs of fame and stardom, and the hardships of dealing with the fall once it’s all over.
Followed by Q&A with the filmmaker Ester Gould and original Madonna dancer Kevin Stea. Introduced by the delectable voguers House of Shabazz.
Tickets available from the Rio Cinema website here.
After party at VFD, for more information click here.
A story of conservative society, furious rhymes and mic drops, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s extraordinary film follows Sonita Alizadeh, a young female Afghan refugee living in Iran, who rejects an arranged marriage in order to pursue a life making rap music. Standing up to conservative traditions and challenging assumptions, her dream of emulating Rihanna goes down like a lead balloon with her mother. But this self-possessed would be pop star isn’t going to let that stop her.
Sonita won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for World Cinema – Documentary at Sundance Film Festival 2016.
Tickets are available from the Genesis website here.
The people damaged by helping to conduct America’s drone war speak out in National Bird, a disturbing new documentary executive produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris. Heather, Daniel and Lisa are former operatives in the U.S. Air Force’s predator programme. Having previously conducted America’s unmanned war before turning whistle-blower, all are suffering from various levels of trauma, government surveillance, and the outright threat of jail. Director Sonia Kennebeck’s film tracks their stories as they battle PTSD, legal trouble and, in one case, an eye opening trip to Afghanistan. What emerges is a disturbing portrait of a nation detached from what it means to protect its citizens, or other people’s. And in its drone footage sweeping over the landscapes of America, its warnings for the future are only too clear.
Followed by Q&A with the filmmaker Sonia Kennebeck.
Take a trip into the backyards of South Central and East Los Angeles in Los Punks: an intimate documentary exploring a homegrown DIY community of bands, skaters and resolute togetherness. Angela Boatwright’s debut finds a scene four-decades old, but in rude health; uniting young people who often feel unwelcome in the ‘mainstream’, providing a fruitful breeding ground for Latino punk and a conscious, active community, often in the face of poverty and violence.
Tickets available from the Genesis website here.
Part of 40 Years of Punk, for more information click here.
Saudi Arabian journalist Faiza Ambah’s debut film is a poignant insight into the issues facing a young Muslim woman growing up in a Western country. It’s 2004 in France and a new law has recently been passed banning religious symbols in schools, including the hijab. For Mariam, a young teenager who has recently begun wearing the veil after returning from pilgrimage in Mecca with her grandmother, this means an agonising and unfair choice between continuing her studies and retaining an important part of her religious identity. Pressure from her father to conform to French law and attention from a young boy who admires her determination complicates this situation further. Will she continue to resist external pressures and in so doing put her education at risk, or find a way to please authority whilst staying true to herself?
+ EXPLOITING IT?
Dir: Jade Jackman
UK | 17 min
In this thought-provoking documentary by first-time filmmaker Jade Jackman, several different British-Muslim women share their recent experiences of being negatively portrayed or stereotyped by the western media. Through these women’s perspectives we see an unexpected form of oppression that contradicts and challenges the misinformed view that these women are in fact oppressed by their faith. Furthermore, this short film offers an insight into how governmental legislation, such as Prevent and the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill, is seeping into different areas of life and institutionalising racist stereotypes.
Followed by Q&A with the producer Aleksandra Bilic and special guests.
Luke, an independent young man with Down’s syndrome, is grieving the loss of his elderly mother when he is forced to move into a care home. Initially despondent about his new home, his spirits are soon raised when he finds a way to sneak out and explore the local countryside. And when he meets a girl in need of his help, his desire to connect and protect another person gives him a new lease of life. A moving story of the importance of embracing life and people, featuring a brilliant turn from newcomer Steven Brandon.
Followed by a Q&A.Tickets available from the Genesis website here.
Taking its cue from Romeo and Juliet, Love is Thicker Than Water is a tale of lovers from different sides of the tracks. Vida comes from a well to do London family, whereas Arthur is a bike messenger from a working-class Welsh mining town. Utterly in love, their relationship is nevertheless tested when their wildly different families and social circles collide, leading them to question whether they are truly meant to be together. A sensitive, quirky tale of romance interspersed with lovely animated sequences, this collaboration between Emily Harris (Paragraph, EEFF 2015) and Ate De Jong (Drop Dead Fred), is a touching take on romantic love and whether it can trump familial bonds.
Half Way chronicles the life of a normal family living in Epping forced into homelessness after being evicted from their house, going from one hostel to another as they wait for a new home from the council, during Britain’s exploding housing crisis. Filmed over a period of a year by the eldest daughter of the family, this immersive documentary is a powerful personal story and a moving insight into the struggles and the Kafkian experience of dealing with the merciless housing bureaucracy that thousands of families in Britain are fighting against today.
Following the screening there will be a women-lead panel discussion with the filmmaker and guests, focusing on the role that campaigning women had in the history of the East End and still have around the topics of homelessness and gentrification. Guests include: Daisy-May Hudson (filmmaker and producer for Vice Magazine), Carly-Jayne Hutchinson (Focus E15), Victoria Spratt (features editor, The Debrief), chaired by Andrea Luka Zimmerman (Fugitive Images, filmmaker of “Estate – A Reverie”).
My partner is a Jew, my son gay, my other son an anarchist and I am a left-wing feminist. The only question in case Golden Dawn comes to power is, which wagon are we going to ride.’ So begins a journalist’s trawl through the depths of Greece’s neo-Nazi party, their extraordinary rise and how so many Greeks have been won over by their cause. A delve into the mind of the Nazi next door.
A self-described ‘pop-u-mentary’, Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model follows lauded performance artist Bryony Kimmings and her 10-year old niece Taylor as they collaborate on Kimmings’ latest show, an attempt to battle against the hypersexualised world of pop music. As they do so, Bryony and Taylor solidify their bond, travel the world, pique the attention of the press, and try to create an alternative popstar for the Tween generation. An inspiring story of togetherness and creativity.
Followed by a Q&A.Tickets available from the Picturehouses website here.